While I was on my trip to Verona, Italy this spring, I purchased some beautiful, soft cotton gauze. I knew this would be perfect for dyeing some lightweight spring and summer scarves.
Each scarf is individually dyed with Procion MX dyes. I challenged myself to create some softer more pastel colours and am happy with the combination of the turquoise and amethyst.
Of course, I also dyed a few in more intense colours! This central portion of this scarf was gathered onto a narrow pipe where the purple and blue was placed, leaving the edges free.
I love using the same colour in different intensities. This cotton gauze scarf was first dyed in a pale pink and overdyed in a burgundy.
All of the scarves a generous 18 x 80 inches or 45 x 200 cm. They have raw fringed edges and are machine washable.They can be left to dry for the soft crinkly look you see in the photos. Of course, they can also be ironed for a more crisp effect. All of my Italian cotton gauze scarves are available for $40.00 each.
Dip dyeing, where you dip a piece of fabric into a dye vat is one of the easiest ways to dye fabric. Although it is uncomplicated, this technique provides endless variety of design fun.
I first saw this technique in Kim Eichler-Messmer’s book: Modern Color: an illustrated guide for modern quilts. In it she wrote about dip dyeing placemats and they were simply beautiful.
I’ve been experimenting with this technique and have two scarves to show you. The green scarf above was loosely folded, rolled and placed into a container of green dye. I left it until all the dye had been absorbed. This creates a striped effect with the fabric at the bottom of the container absorbing the most dye and is therefore the darkest.
In the plaid scarf, I first folded, rolled, and dipped the piece in a yellow dye bath. I dried the scarf.
The second step was to refold in the opposite direction, re-roll and re-dip in the second colour. This time I placed the scarf in a turquoise dye bath. I love the colour that is created where the yellow and turquoise intersect. It looks like a much more complicated design. I will be experimenting with dyeing more Shibori scarves in various colour combinations in the future.
It’s interesting how different these two red Shibori scarves look when they both started off in the same dye bath.
The design is very subtle on this scarf, giving it a delicate look.
More rows of stitching would make this design more defined and graphic. I will be experimenting with this on another piece.
The scarf below was dyed in the same red dye bath and then pole wrapped and dipped in black to create a very striking design.
An intense black colour is difficult to achieve. I doubled the amount of dye powder and left the scarf in longer. In some areas of the scarf the black looks more like a very dark purple.
When I first began dyeing, I mixed red and blue dyes to create purple as you would when mixing paint. I did get a purple but it was very grapey! not really what I had intended. By mixing red with a small amount of black dye a deep rich royal purple is obtained.
I have a few more hand dyed scarves to show you next time.
My infatuation with dyeing has led me to experiment with fibres other than cotton. I was looking for a linen gauze to experiment with, when I came across Robert Kaufman’s Veneto Linen Gauze fabric. No one locally carried this fabric and I was hesitant to order it online without seeing and touching it.
Luckily, Andrea, from On Blueberry Hill had used this linen gauze to make a scarf. She wrote about her experience in a post: Spring gauze wraps. The photographs of the Veneto Linen scarf and a Kokochi Double Gauze scarf she made were beautiful.
I contacted Andrea to ask about the weight, drape and her experience sewing with the linen gauze, explaining that I was interested in dyeing it. She very quickly responded and kindly offered to send me a piece so I could experiment!
The piece Andrea sent was large enough to make two scarves. I tried two different Shibori techniques. Itajime Shibori is when the fabric is folded and clamped with a resist before dyeing, Arashi Shibori is rolled and tied around a tube. The two pieces were then immersed in an Indigo dye bath. The experiment was very successful. I am happy with both of the results. The linen has a lovely drape and it accepted the dye very well, creating an intense blue with only a couple of dips in the dye bath.
I didn’t take a photograph of the linen before I dyed it, so if you hop on over to Andrea’s blog, you can see the base colour: flax. I love this natural warm colour with the blue designs running through it. This linen gauze is available in white which I think would also look great.
During my Indigo dyeing weekend, I also experimented dyeing a rayon/linen blend and silk fibres. I’ll have more photographs showing those results soon. What fibres have you tried dyeing?
I have so many more ideas for dyeing that I am back to it!
This beautiful orange Arashi Shibori or pole wrapped piece unwrapped into a beautiful cream and orange scarf. It reminded my husband of a favourite childhood ice cream treat – the Creamsicle!
Here it is partially unwrapped, once washed it is a softer colour.
I was asked to make a scarf similar to the Arashi Shibori scarf in raspberry that I wrote about in July. I didn’t keep track of the colours I mixed to create that shade and was challenged to recreate the colour.
They aren’t exactly the same, but very similar. When I first unwrapped the raspberry coloured scarf, washed and dried it, the colour and veining reminded me of radicchio. Radicchio is a beautiful Italian chicory lettuce that grows in a tightly wrapped ball. The leaf is a purpley red while the veins are white. Next time you are at the grocery store look for it – the colour is gorgeous.
I am also dyeing scarves in a silk/cotton blend and a linen/rayon blend. I’ll have more photographs of those scarves as well as some velvet that I’ll be making into pillows.